Muskego man mixed up in lawsuit for mowing Luther Park Cemetery

Posted at 10:13 PM, Jul 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-08 08:58:41-04

There's a grass cutting controversy in Muskego stemming from a historic cemetery. Luther Parker Cemetery is at the center of a lawsuit and the city fined a man hundreds of dollars for mowing the burial grounds.

"Everybody was all up and arms about it. It looked hideous," said mower Jordan Wenzel.

Jordan Wenzel thought he could quietly solve the controversy at the Muskego Cemetery on his own.

"Do it for the Fourth of July.  Make it look decent," Wenzel said.

When the Franklin man finished mowing his yard a couple weeks ago he took his brush cutter over to the burial grounds down the road.

"I never in my wildest dreams, yah know, thought I was going to get a ticket out of this," Wenzel said.

Police asked Wenzel to stop when a neighbor reported the mower. 

"He said there was probably something going to come out if because there's a lawsuit about it and I'm sure they're not happy with me," Wenzel said.

Wenzel said he had no idea his actions were illegal.  He also overlooked a sign in front of the property that said, "Please do not mow." 

His wife doesn't blame him even though the city ended up fining Wenzel $500.

"We noticed it getting overgrown and stuff and we had commented yah know that looks tacky," said Bonnie Wenzel.

In April a Civil War group filed papers to sue Muskego for not properly maintaining the graves of Union Soldiers at Luther Parker Cemetery.

"We initially thought the city had done the mowing," said Dave Daley, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

A week later, the attorney for the Sons of Union Veterans got a letter from the city making sure they weren't involved with the mowing.

"We certainly agree that it's an eyesore and we sympathize with anybody that takes that same position," Daley said.

The mower and the Civil War group say they have never been in contact, but Wenzel now finds himself in the middle of the lawsuit.  He can either pay up or go to court in August.

"I don't know.  I'm still undecided," Wenzel said.

Muskego's forester is in charge of the cemetery. In April he said the reason the city keeps the grass long is to preserve the native prairie land.  We reached out to the city multiple times Friday, but never heard back for a comment on the fine.